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Relationship marketing: The future is now

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Part of me is truly amazed that has taken this long to realize something that should've been obvious to all of us from the beginning of time. The beginning of advertising and marketing time, that is.

Regardless of the medium or platform or whatever word you prefer to describe all the ways we communicate with consumers, shouldn't we all collectively have been trying to establish a relationship and engage with our customers from the proverbial get-go?

Shouldn't adopting this type of approach bring with it the subsequent increased revenue we all seek but done so in a more, of I don't know, natural way?

Instead of simply coming out guns blazing and bombarding consumers with one ad after another and then trying to relate and engage?

I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Maybe I am too naive.

Has The Future Finally Arrived?

Late last year in an article entitled Looking Back, Looking Ahead - CMOs Weigh In I wrote for Forbes, our CMO Scott Olrich said in looking ahead to 2013 "We will see the beginning of what I refer to as "the relationship era” whereby marketers will move away from an acquisition first mentality to a relationship first one. Marketers will focus more on the entire consumer experience to build and foster a long term relationship with a consumer as opposed to just that initial purchase phase.'"

Well based on what I saw in a recent eMarketer article, it would appear that both B2B marketers and B2C marketers are finally realizing that engaging and establishing a relationship with consumers is paramount to ultimate success.

Yes, I am fully aware that the above chart refers only to social media. Quite frankly, I don't care. When I saw this I took it as a positive move toward ALL forms of marketing - not just social.

Was a little disheartened to see the percentage for "improve customer engagement" so much lower on the B2B side compared B2C, however. As soon as I saw that I was instantly reminded of something I wrote last year - Even Though It’s Called B2B, There’s Still A “C” On The Other End.

In that article I essentially reminded all B2B marketers that no matter what it says in the acronym, there's still a live, breathing person on the other end of that line. Am wondering if too many B2B marketers still don't grasp this concept and hence the significantly lower percentage re: customer engagement compared to their B2C brethren.

Why Has It Taken This Long?

So why has it taken so long for marketers to identify the need to relate and engage with their customers?

Has it simply been a case of generation after generation of marketers being raised on the fact that the bottom line is always the bottom line? That selling, selling and more selling is the most important thing and that if, along the way you establish a relationship and engage with a consumer, that's a bonus.But at the end of the day as long as we're moving product, all is well in the world?

Sources: eMarketer, Google Images, Forbes 

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